In general, money laundering can be defined as the deliberate use of what would otherwise be legal financial transactions that are employed to conceal the origin, amount, and ownership of money that was obtained through any activity that could be taken as a criminal activity under New York’s Penal Code.
As defined in NY State Penal Law 470.20, first degree money laundering occurs when:
New York’s Penal Code also allows a money laundering charge to be “enhanced” (prosecuted as a higher-degree crime) if it can be shown that the source of the laundered funds was from drug trafficking or if the laundered funds were to be used for the purpose of terrorism.
Although the definition of money laundering in the context of this article refers to prosecutions under the laws of New York State, there are also federal laws that criminalize money laundering under a much broader set of circumstances than does New York. Since a federal prosecution can also be used to link money laundering to crimes such as tax evasion or operating a criminal enterprise that falls under the provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a conviction on a money laundering in the first-degree charge could lead to a very long prison term.
Due to the potentially-severe penalties that can be imposed upon a conviction on a charge of money laundering in the first degree, it is essential that anyone charged with this offense obtain the representation of an experienced New York City criminal lawyer as soon as they become aware that they are facing such a charge.
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